CITES Rejects Protection For Polar Bears

U.S. Sportsmen, Bear Hunting Magazine

Protection for polar bears, including a ban on trade in its fur and parts, was rejected at a conference of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) this past week.

The United States led the plan to stop international trophy hunting of the polar bear and the trade in polar bear parts was defeated at the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar.

"It's not uncommon that the first effort to list a species is not success," Tom Strickland, assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks told reporters in a teleconference. "It requires a sustained effort.... So while we are disappointed with the vote today ... we are heartened by the support around world to up-list the polar bear."

Among some environmentalists, there was a bit less disappoint about the polar bear defeat. CITES, they noted, is a conference that is about protecting animals through prohibiting trade, and protecting polar bears was considered a steep hurdle because their primary threat, in their eyes, is climate change.

Canada, which allows 300 polar bears a year to be hunted for international trade and trophy hunting, strongly opposed the United States led measure.

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